Online Songwriting Collaboration: A True Story20 June 2010
The story of how Lisa (USA) co-wrote a song with Sigurd and his band (Sweden)
Article written by Lisa Lewis
My name is Lisa Lewis. I’ve been writing poetry since the age of seven - ever since the time I got pissed off at my mother, and found I could say it “in rhyme“. However - I didn’t hit the garage band scene until I got a wild hair, and auditioned for an all male band at the age of 42.
During that single month of pure fun and musical enlightenment, I discovered a lot of things. First off - I was surprised to find out that many talented MALE musicians are WAY bigger divas than most of us girls will ever be.
And, I discovered not only did I truly have a decent voice, and I’m definitely not shy in front of a crowd but also, that I had a knack for being able to write lyrics (by ear) to any melody the old “diva dukes” threw at me. Well, it was a blast to be in a band - until the guitar player and the drummer got into it - and the drummer took back his studio , leaving us musically homeless. Oh well…
Anyway, fast forward through the life and death of another garage band and a divorce. In April of 2009, I joined Songwriting Fever on a whim and some wine. I set up my profile, and tossed in some poems, along with a couple of the lyrics I had written during that short and sweet adventure with the Diva guys. I soon received 2 emails within the same week from interested would-be collaborators. One was from a nice man who wanted my lyrics AND needed me to have a recording studio of some type in which to make decent enough demos of our collaborations to try to market. Since I didn’t even have a cupboard to store Top Ramen in, I had to decline that invitation.
But the second one was from a young Norwegian composer named Sigurd Haug. He wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing the lyrics for a song that was to be recorded in both English and Swedish. I emailed him back and told him yes - then, I Googled his name to make sure he was an actual person, and not some type of “pyscho composer/stalker”. Happily, everything he said checked out - and then some.
He emailed me a copy of his song the very next day.
It didn’t take me very long to realize that my first collaboration partner was a very talented, and accomplished musician - especially for one so young – with years of seasoned experience already. And, after checking out his website, I saw that he had worked with many different Indy artists of both genders - and from every background, and nationality.
So, even though I’d always been confident in my writing ability, I have to admit I was a little nervous at the thought of possibly letting him down in any way - especially if I couldn’t come up with lyrics that met his standards.
In fact, for a while I reminded him on a daily basis, that I had absolutely no musical training whatsoever - and until they started counting garage bands that disinegrated in less than a month as time served - it the present time, MY street cred was still a big fat ZERO. But, Sigurd wasn’t phased about this - not in the least. In fact, he said something like, “You have to start somewhere, right?” Right!
So, for the next couple weeks – in between the boring annoyances of bill paying and a mind numbing job - I worked on perfecting the words I got from listening to the melody - and messed with it until I had found the song’s story. I cut and pasted and tweaked every word and syllable, until the pieces of the puzzle came together perfectly. (You lyricists and poets will know exactly what I’m saying)!
I then sent him the first draft of my endeavor. And the song/lyric “negotiations” went like this:
He always gave me excellent feedback in every respect. He wouldn’t hesitate to tell me what he really liked about some verses, and wasn’t shy either, about asking me to clarify the use of certain words and phrases in others -even requesting that I rewrite some parts altogether - which I was happy to do. I would email back my corrections and answers to him, along with any questions I had about things like “segues”, timing and other minute details I’d never get right on a round of Jeopardy - not in a million years.
I found that Sigurd sometimes looked at a verse I had written and saw a meaning behind it, that was completely different from the one I had in mind when I wrote it. This opened my eyes to remember to look at ALL things - not just song lyrics - from every angle and perspective, instead of just from my own.
But anyway, to continue - In between both of our schedules, and the back and forth emails almost every day, we finally got the song perfected enough for him to mix and present to his singer. The song turned out to be kind of a pop tune - and I think it came out beautifully, in regards to how the melody and words flow together.
As far as the business portion of the venture went, I have to say again, how lucky I was to get Sigurd - with his musical talent, knowledge and all around decency - as my first collaboration. He explained the contract portion, and how monies will be distributed - if the song takes off, that is - and the terms he laid down were very fair.
Well, when it was finally time to take it to the next phase with the singer, and my part was over - we both agreed we had enjoyed the venture, and would love to work together again if the opportunity presented itself in the future - which I hope it does.
About Lisa: Lisa Lewis lives in Sacramento, Ca, with her fiancé Todd and their dog, a pit bull named Fluffy. Lisa has been writing all of her life, starting with poetry at the age of 7 and has two published pieces in two independent publications. She is also an independent lyric writer. Lisa has written two articles in the Relationship section of Helium.com that still hold top positions. She also is a blogger on PNN.com under the pen name Lisabobisa.
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